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Intoxica

As CD sales continue to decline, vinyl has seen something of a revival. Leave iTunes to the side for a moment – there’s nothing quite like going to a record store and spending an hour having a good rummage around. In London, there are loads of places you can pick up some new records, and here are some of our favourites.

Though Portobello Road might seem like the kind of area where residents buy vinyl just to hang on their walls, there are some good shops worth checking out. Intoxica! (the exclamation mark is mandatory) is no dusty old store; there’s huge tribal masks and bamboo everywhere. They have a really diverse collection of records, so it’s not a bad place to start if you’re new to buying vinyl or are just starting your collection.

Just down the road is Honest Jon’s, who specialise more in jazz, soul and reggae music. Founded in 1974, it’s gone on to spawn Honest Jon’s Records, a record label run in conjunction with Damon Albarn (his side-project The Good, The Bad & The Queen was released through them).

Not far from there in Notting Hill is the original Rough Trade. Originally specialising in US and Jamaican imports, they soon established themselves as a leading outfit during London’s punk scene. This store still has amazing artwork and posters from when it traded in the 80’s, and even if you don’t end up buying any records, it’s worth the trip here just to take in the atmosphere. In 2007, they opened a 5000 sq ft flagship store in the ultra-trendy Brick Lane, which has become renowned for its book collection and incredible coffee almost as much as it has for its music.

Soho is not to be overlooked either, with some of the best record stores in the capital located within a few minutes’ walk of each other. Phonicaon Poland Street and Reckless Records and Sister Ray, both on Berwick Street, are well worth your time.

Finally, in Islington, and Crouch Hill, there’s Flashback Records, with helpful staff and a great stock, ranging from new releases to classics of the 50s. Why not clear the afternoon and visit them all?

This article first appeared in The Telegraph on August 11th.

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It shouldn’t just be the bride that gets jaws dropping on the big day. The groom, best man and ushers should look sharp too. If you want something different for your morning suits, follow our guide.

Choosing the right formalwear for your wedding is no small task, but thankfully you can get something smart and sophisticated in London without burning through your budget or resorting to the high street.

If you’re looking for something traditional, try Neal & Palmer in Piccadilly Arcade (between Piccadilly Circus and Green Park tubes). Whether you’re going for made-to-measure suits or just want off-the-rail pieces, they take a lot of care producing their garments, using hand embroidered fabrics and it’s good value for money too.

Buckleigh Of London is known as ‘Chelsea’s hidden secret’. The family run business offer bespoke tailoring, including formalwear for children and a great selection of brogues and patent shoes to finish your outfit. 3-piece suit hire starts at £90.

Moss Bros might be a firm staple of many high-streets, but rest assured their extensive range of tailoring at Moss Bespoke means you’re able to get something that’s more individual. Whether you want a classic black tailcoat, something with a bit more character (like the square-tailed frock coat) or an extravagant Ascot-inspired jacket, they’ve got you covered. Better still, their lighter-weight jackets will be perfect if you have a summer wedding planned.

This article originally appeared in The Telegraph on May 19th.

Once the preserve of country estates and exotic resorts, there are now more spas than ever in London, and although the city is built up, they’re a little more discrete than you’d think. Now you can get a massage or pedicure on your lunch hour without any fuss or trouble.

The Corinthia Hotel is a beautiful building a stone’s throw from Downing Street, and beneath its doors lies the Espa Life, for men and women. The dark corridors house a gym (managed by Stephen Price, personal trainer to the world’s athletic elite) and a hair salon run by Daniel Galvin, as well as an award-winning spa. Try the Shiatsu Inspired experience – a signature massage which works the whole body and exfoliation. You’ll feel brand new afterwards.

Spa treatments are perfect after a long day of shopping – thankfully the Agua Spa at The Sanderson Hotel is just a short walk from Oxford Street. Their citrus facial treatments will help rejuvenate your skin, while a hot stone massage will relax your nervous system and soothe sore joints.

Some spas are more traditional than others. Porchester Spa, in Queensway, men and woman are only allowed in on different days (alternating through the week, check the website for changes) – although Sunday night is for couples. They offer a traditional Finnish log sauna, therapeutic treatments and exercise facilities in an art deco setting. And when you’re exhausted? Cool off in the icy plunge pool.

London’s snaking streets are a haven for shoppers, but after a busy day trailing up and down stores there’s nothing better than taking the weight off your feet and having a quick drink. Whether you’re after a hearty pint, a big glass of wine or even a bitter shot of coffee, the best pick-me-up bars are closer to the changing rooms then you think.

After trailing up and down central London’s shopping streets, there’s nothing like taking the weight off and relaxing in a pub or bar. Chances are you’ll have popped into Selfridge’s if you’re shopping around Oxford Street, so why not save it till last and – as soon as your latest purchase has been bagged up – head to the department store’s Wonder Bar, located above the wine section. It’s a bright, stylish hideaway, with an exceptional selection of wines. Their automated machines let you try sample sips of different wines and order from your seat using their self-service mechanism – so you won’t even have to wait for a waiter to turn up.

Alternatively, if you’re shopping along Carnaby Street, head to the area’s Newburgh Quarter where you can find some nice pubs and bars tucked away. The pillar-box red Shaston Arms is a friendly, laid-back pub with some great ales on tap. But if you need reviving, try Speakeasy Espresso And Brew Bar up the road for a shot of coffee. Just the ticket after an exhausting afternoon.

If you’re in Leicester Square or Covent Garden, try The Porterhouse. It gets incredibly busy at times, but is a vast pub – split over 12 different levels – and decorated with old clocks and copper pipes, which snake through the walls. Bag a booth and you might end up staying here a little longer than you planned. They have a menu of more than 100 bottled beers, and a range of their own from their Dublin brewery. If pale, crisp lager is your thing, a cold pint of Chiller comes highly recommended.

Flanked by traditional barbers’ poles, Murdock caters for the modern man-about-town and is perfect if you’re looking to upgrade your usual regime. With smart shops in Shoreditch, Covent Garden, Mayfair and Soho, it’s distinctly masculine interiors and first-class service will ensure you keep coming back.

A great haircut needn’t be edgy or complicated, and Brooks and Brooksoffer a no-nonsense approach to cutting hair. Their premises, a short walk from Holborn station, has a relaxed atmosphere, and whether you’re looking for a new look or just want your usual style maintained, their team of award-winning hairdressers will be more than happy to help.

Don’t let the Soho postcode fool you; yes, the staff are attractive and the interior sleek, but The Lounge focuses on substance just as much as style. As well as giving a great cut, the hairdressers are happy to impart grooming wisdom, offering advice on managing your hair and suggesting products to use to keep it looking as great as it does when you get out the chair.

More men than ever are indulging in a classic wet shave – it’s a decidedly masculine treatment that’s indulgent without feeling metrosexual. For a classic shave, look to London’s traditionally upmarket areas for an authentic treatment.

Gentleman’s Tonic in Mayfair offers a mix of old and new; handsome mahogany and leather mixed with state-of-the-art LCD screens showing anything from music channels to the sport.

Established in 2000, The Refinery, based in Kensington, uses its own brand of shaving products, specifically designed to give a smooth, relaxing shave. The friendly staff will even talk you through the procedure, giving advice on how to incorporate the treatments into your own routine.

Anyone visiting London is expected to make a trip to Harrods – but beneath the many floors of designer clothing lies a discreet gentleman’s barbers where you can experience a range of treatments. A former pub for well-heeled types, it’s perfect if you want a relaxing atmosphere teeming with a gentleman’s club feel to it.